On August 5, 2016, he Federal Highway Administration and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) released an environmental-impact study of four proposed improvements to the crossing of southeastern Virginia’s Hampton Roads (where the Elizabeth River, James River, and Nansemond River merge and flow into the Chesapeake Bay), including possible expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) or construction of new crossings.
According to VDOT’s “Hampton Road Crossing Study SEIS” Web site (“Frequently Asked Questions,” online at http://www.hamptonroadscrossingstudy.org/faqs/default.asp), the four alternatives are the following:
A. Improvements to I-64 from I-664 in Hampton to I-564 in Norfolk, “largely confined to existing right-of-way.”
B. Same improvements to I-64 as Alternative A, plus improvements to I-564 from I-64 in Norfolk and across the Elizabeth River via a new bridge/tunnel; a new roadway along the east side of Craney Island to Route 164 in Portsmouth; and Improvements to Route 164 to connect to I-664.
C. Improvements to I-564 from I-64 in Norfolk and across the Elizabeth River via a new bridge/tunnel; a new roadway along the east side of Craney Island to Route 164 in Portsmouth; and widening of I-664 from I-64 in Hampton to I-264 in Chesapeake, including a new crossing parallel to the I-664 MMMBT and between I-664 and I-564, north of Craney Island.
D. A combination of the sections that comprise Alternatives B and C, but with no dedicated transit-only lanes. According to a Virginian-Pilot article on the impact study, the “estimated costs range from $3.3 billion for Alternative A to $12.5 billion for Alternative C.” The “Hampton Roads Crossing Study Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement” is available online at http://www.hamptonroadscrossingstudy.org/.
The environmental impact study will be open for public comment through September 19, 2016. Public hearings on the study will be held Sept. 7 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, 1610 Coliseum Drive in Hampton; and Sept. 8 at the Quality Suites Lake Wright, 6280 Northampton Boulevard in Norfolk (both hearings will be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.).
Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board is expected to choose a preferred alternative by the end of 2016, after which the proposal would go through a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitting process.
Hampton Roads Crossing Study Released; Public Invited to Comment on Findings before Alternative is Chosen, Virginia Department of Transportation News Release, 8/5/16.
Public can comment on water crossing choices before project chosen later this year, Virginian-Pilot, 8/5/16.